Federal Way 2nd grader forgoes birthday presents for charity



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Posted on January 26, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 26 at 7:21 PM

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- When a local rotary club started raising money to provide shelter for families in disaster-torn regions, they never knew one of their most successful fundraisers would be just 8-years-old.

Ryen Glenn looks like a typical second grader, but has a world awareness beyond her years.

"She came up with the idea of of kind of foregoing gifts at her birthday, to raise money for something," says her father, Jaime Doll.

"I have a million books and I didn't want any toys so I donated," says Ryen.

She decided to donate to Shelter Box USA, a charity that sends green boxes to countries around the world. Each box costs $1,000, and contains an emergency shelter and supplies to provide for families in the aftermath of a disaster.

"Because they help families around the world and it's kind of important to me," says Ryen.

So instead of receiving gifts at her 8th birthday, she collected donations from friends and family. She raised $1,325.

Last week she handed the check to the Fife-Milton Rotary Club, a charity sponsor.

"She gave up toys and all the other stuff to ask for donations for something much bigger than herself, and have a global impact like this," says Scott Peters of the Fife-Milton Rotary Club. "It's quite remarkable."

And she's not stopping there. In a presentation in front of her entire school, Ryen asked her fellow students at Rainier View Elementary in Federal Way to join her cause.

"The classroom that raises the most money will get a pizza party," she told her fellow students. "I hope everyone will get excited for Dimes for Disasters and our chance as a school to make a difference in the world."

Her parents don't know where she gets her composure, but they believe her compassion comes from having a disabled younger sister.

"I think it definitely altered the way Ryen is, very caring, very concerned about other people over herself," says Doll.

Since her Shelter Box presentation, Ryen and her school have already raised another $1,000.

Ryen opened a donation account for anyone who would like to contribute. Just go into any Columbia Bank and ask to donate to "Shelter Box."

If you know someone making a difference in the lives of others, tell us about them. Email us at makingadifference@king5.com.